يسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والحمدلله لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين
In the name of God, the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
All praise and thanks be to God, and may peace and blessings be upon the most noble of Prophets and Messengers
Al7amdulillah we are mid-way into the blessed month of Ramadan. An important opportunity for reflection.
How have we used our time so far? Are we meeting our set goals? If no, why? If yes, are our goals ambitious enough? Whatever our condition, it is important that we have a critical examination of our actions so we can improve them and correct our weaknesses. For those of us feeling demotivated that we are not doing enough we should know that Ramadan is not over yet- people are freed from the Hellfire every night, and Allah’s Mercy is vast. We can still reap the full benefits of this blessed month insha Allah. We are yet to reach the climax of Ramadan as we enter into its final ten days.
Ramadan is considered as an opportunity to come closer to Allah. In this vein, we should look at the final ten days of Ramadan as “the opportunity of opportunities”. Why? Because in it, there is a night, a special night, that Allah describes in the Quran as being better than one thousand months. This night is so special subhanallah that unfortunate is the person who fails to reap its benefits. We are all familiar with the shopping sales season and how people rush into the shops to get the best deals. We could look at the last ten days in particular as a big sale. The little effort we make, Allah is willing to reward us with abundance.
The Prophet pbuh used to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in retreat inside mosque (I’tikaf). So we should follow his sunnah and make the intention that we will prepare ourselves psychologically in the coming days, intending to spend the last ten nights awake in remembrance of Allah. We may have been having this routine already masha Allah, if so, we should make the intention to double these efforts. For those of us working, we could at least spending part of the night in ibadah (worship) and aim to do salatul isha (isha prayer) and fajr in jamah (congregation). The Prophet pbuh said “He who prays Isha’ in jama’ah is as if he has prayed for half the night. As to him who (also) prays Fajr in congregation, it is as if he has prayed all night.” (Muslim)
The meaning of Laylatul Qadr
Laylatul Qadr translates as “the Night of Power” or the “Night of Decree”. There is a small surah in the Quran dedicated to explain the value and meaning of this night:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْ 1 1. We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ 2. And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ 3. The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ 4. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand:
سَلاَمٌ هِيَ حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ 5. Peace!…This until the rise of morn!
As stated in the Quran, this night is of great blessings. Those who are fortunate to catch it, are promised a feeling of peace and this is one of the signs of this night. We don’t know when the night is exactly, therefore we were instructed by Rasulullah (The Prophet) sallahu alaihi wa sallam to “look” for the night in the last ten days.
According to the ahadith, the Prophet pbuh used to ponder about the length of life of other ummahs and then compare it to the relatively short life span of his ummah, feeling sad about it. It would be difficult for his ummah to compete with the other ummahs for they lived for hundreds of years, whereas we live on average for 60 – 70 years. So then Allah, with His infinite mercy, gave us this night so that if we spend it in remembrance of Allah, we get the reward of a thousand nights (83 years and four months). If each of us catch ten of these nights in his/her lifetime, then this is equivalent of 833 years of ibada and more! (Imam Malik, Muatta)
In another narration, Rasulullah sallalahu alayhi wa sallam once mentioned the names of four pious men of Bani Israil, each of them spending eighty years serving Allah, worshiping Him without transgression. These were the Prophets Ayub a.s., Izkil a.s., Zakariya a.a. and Yusha a.s. By hearing this the sahabah then started thinking of how to emulate them. It was then that Allah revealed surah Qadr cited above, telling us that it is possible.
It was in this night that the Quran was brought down into the first heaven (from Lauhe Mahfuz- the Preserved Tablet) and from there revealed during the 23 years of the prophecy of the Prophet pbuh. Our Prophet pbuh said, “Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr fully believing (in Allah’s promise for that night) and hoping to seek reward (from Allah alone and not from people), he shall be forgiven for his past sins.” (Bukhari/Muslim)
Important historical events happened in this night. For example, it was in this night that Allah forgave Bani Israil and it was in this night that Issa alayhis salaam was lifted to the heavens. (durre manthur– sorry what’s this source?)
We don’t know when exactly the night is but we know its within the last ten nights. Ubaadah bin Saamit (Radi Allaho anho) said: ‘Once Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) came out to inform us of the (true date of) “Laylatul Qadr”. Unfortunately, a quarrel took place between two Muslims, whereupon he said: “I came out to inform you as to when “Laylatul Qadr” occurs, but because two people quarrelled with each other, the knowledge of the correct date was taken away; perhaps that is better for you. So, seek it among the ninth, seventh and fifth nights.” (Bukhari)
I think this is tragic and beautiful at the same time. Tragic because it shows how disunity among Muslims is detested by Allah to the point that the knowledge about Laylatul Qadr was removed from us. It reminded me of how sad I felt when I read this news today: http://bit.ly/KL9Kx But it is beautiful at the same time because this is such a graceful opportunity. I feel attracted to the fact that we are “searching” for this night. What a beautiful incentive this is, not to speak of the bliss one feels of being awake in remembrance while the world is sleeping.
How to seek Laylatul Qadr
The Prophet pbuh said “Seek it in Ramadan in the last ten nights. For verily, it is during the odd nights, the twenty-first, or the twenty-third, or the twenty-fifth, or the twenty-seventh, or the twenty-ninth, or during the last night.” (Ahmad)
It is recommended that we:
1 – Perform Qiyam.
Abu Tharr (radhiallahu `anhu) relates:
“We fasted with Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) in Ramadaan. He did not lead us (in qiyaam) at all until there were seven (nights of Ramadaan) left. Then he stood with us (that night – in prayer) until one third of the night had passed. He did not pray with us on the sixth. On the fifth night, he prayed with us until half of the night had passed. So we said, ‘Allah’s Messenger! Wouldn’t you pray with us the whole night?’ He replied:
‘Whoever stands in prayer with the imaam until he (the imaam) concludes the prayer, it is recorded for him that he prayed the whole night.’…” [Recorded by Ibn Abi Shaybah, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmithi (who authenticated it), an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, at-Tahawi (in Sharhu Ma`an il-Athar, Ibn Nasr, al-Faryabi, and al-Bayhaqi. Their isnad is authentic.]
2 – Make supplications
`A’ishah (radhiallahu `anha) reported that she asked Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), “O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylat ul-Qadr, what should I say during it?” And he instructed her to say:
“Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuh.ibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee – O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me.” [Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmithi. Verified to be authentic by Al-Albani]
3 – Abandon worldly pleasures for the sake of worship
`A’ishah (radhiallahu `anha) reported:
“When the (last) ten started, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) would tighten his izaar, spend the whole night awake (in prayer), and wake up his family.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
May Allah enable us to catch this blessed night many times over during our life and may we reap its full blessings and grow closer to Him. Ameen